Spinach Cream Cheese Pie

I recently made a batch of “real” cream cheese for a demo and had a fair amount left over. It’s good on bagels and there’s many many deserts that use cream cheese, but I wanted to create main dish that featured it. I love the synergy of spinach and cheese (as my posted recipes suggest) so I combined them in a savory pie along with garlic and dill. Feel free to adjust the seasoning (or any of it) to your taste. For as few ingredients as this has, it comes out surprisingly hearty yet very refined.

Real cream cheese is about 1000x better than then the store bought variety and very simple to make, so you should use it for this recipe if possible. Store bought cream cheese will obviously work, but it’s won’t be nearly as luscious and decadent. I did use store bought pie crust though (only so much time in the day). I also opted for frozen spinach, but fresh spinach will work if you chop and steam/saute/etc it.

I’m not vegetarian in the slightest,  but the richness of the cheese and the mineral/irony quality of the spinach makes for a filling and very satisfying meatless dish. Originally I planned on adding canned salmon but changed my mind, and I’m glad I did. I think any animal protein will make the dish overwhelming/just too rich. If you do want to add meat any fish, lamb or beef could work, but make sure to cut back the cream cheese.

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dry dill
  • salt to taste
  • 1 lb frozen chopped spinach (defrosted and thoroughly drained)
  • 2 pie crusts brought to room temp.
  • 8 oz (ish) fresh homemade cream cheese (room temp is better)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400F.
  2. Mix all ingredients together. Make sure the cream cheese is thoroughly blended.
  3. Line glass pie plate with first pie crust. Pour in filling. Place top crust on and seal by pinching the the edges together and trim off excess. Make a few punctures on top for steam to escape.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is bubbling in the center. You may want to wrap foil around the edges partially through cooking to prevent them from getting too dark.
  5. Enjoy!

Ricotta, Sausage and Spinach Linguine

Here’s a great way to use your homemade ricotta. Although I came up with this based ingredients in my kitchen, it has a rich but delicate taste belies it’s simplicity. (Serves 4+)

  • 2-3 hot Italian sausages
  • 1 box frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 box linguine
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1+ Tablespoon minced garlic (or to taste)
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh chopped oregano
  • Ricotta – yield from 1 gallon
  • Salt to taste
  1. Cut sausages into 1 inch discs. Cook in the oven or pan fry.
  2. Sauté garlic in a few tablespoons olive oil over medium low until garlic changes color slightly.
  3. Defrost spinach. Press out extra liquid.
  4. Add shrimp and sauté till just heated through (don’t overcook or it will be rubbery!).  Set aside.
  5. Cook pasta.
  6. Add ricotta, tomatoes, tomato sauce and oregano to garlic and shrimp. Heat on medium low until hot through – don’t heat too high or too quickly or the quality of the ricotta will be compromised.
  7. Add pasta and mix until coated. Enjoy!

Ricotta Shrimp Pasta

Just made ricotta? It’s great for lasagna of course, but I like to let the delicate sweet flavor of homemade ricotta shine. Here’s my favorite recipe that I’ve come up with so far. (Serves 4+)

  • 1lb Shrimp (cooked and cleaned)
  • 1 box Angel Hair Spaghetti
  • 1 Tablespoon dried chili flakes
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 1+ Tablespoon minced garlic (or to taste)
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh chopped basil
  • Ricotta – yield from 1 gallon
  • Salt to taste
  1. Sauté garlic and chili flakes in a few tablespoons olive oil over medium low until garlic changes color slightly.
  2. Add shrimp and sauté till just heated through (don’t overcook or it will be rubbery!).  Set aside.
  3. Cook pasta.
  4. Add ricotta, tomatoes and basil to garlic and shrimp. Heat on medium low until hot through – don’t heat to high or too quickly or the quality of the ricotta will be compromised.
  5. Add pasta and mix until coated. Enjoy!

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